The BEST Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Let me teach you how to make naturally flavored (and colored) strawberry buttercream frosting. The secret is to replace some confectioners’ sugar with powdered freeze-dried strawberries. Simply grind freeze-dried strawberries into a powder using a food processor. This strawberry buttercream is ultra creamy and smooth with intense strawberry flavor. 

strawberry frosting in a glass stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Let’s talk about how to make the BEST strawberry buttercream frosting.

Strawberry frosting has always left me feeling a little defeated. The problem is that I always tried making it with fresh strawberries. I’d chop them up, even blot the moisture a little bit, then throw them into a vanilla frosting. The buttercream would instantly curdle as a result of the excess moisture. Instead of relying on artificial strawberry flavor, I took a trick I learned while writing my cookbook Sally’s Candy Addiction. Use strawberry dust!

I have a recipe for strawberry buttercream candies in that cookbook– they’re actually the pretty pink striped candies you see on the cover. The filling is creamy and smooth with lots of concentrated strawberry flavor which– you guessed it– is made from freeze-dried strawberries. I decided to make actual strawberry frosting the same exact way.

2 images of freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and freeze dried strawberry crumbs in a food processor

strawberry frosting in a glass bowl with a spatula

How to Make Strawberry Buttercream Frosting: Quick Video Tutorial

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  1. Freeze-Dried Strawberries: Grind these into a fine powder using a food processor or blender. Want to make a raspberry buttercream? Use freeze-dried raspberries instead.
  2. Unsalted Butter: Start with room temperature butter. Room temperature butter is cooler than you think. If the butter is too warm, the frosting will taste greasy.
  3. Confectioners’ Sugar: Confectioner’s sugar is the bulk of this frosting, sweetening it and binding the ingredients together.
  4. Heavy Cream or Milk: Liquid thins out and adds creaminess to the frosting. You can use heavy cream or milk. Half-and-half works too.
  5. Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds incredible flavor.
  6. Salt: A pinch of salt offsets all the sweetness.

Baker’s Tip: Do not use “dried strawberries” which are like raisins, dried apricots, and dried pineapple. They have a gummy texture and don’t grind into a powder. You need freeze-dried strawberries, which have all of the moisture removed. They’re the strawberries you find in some boxed cereals.

unwrapped lemon cupcake with pink strawberry frosting on top

Where Can I Buy Freeze-Dried Strawberries?

They’re more commonly found than you think. I always find freeze-dried strawberries in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Target each carry them.

What Tastes Best with Strawberry Frosting?

The possibilities are endless.

Or you can add a little white chocolate like I do with these white chocolate strawberry cupcakes or turn it into cream cheese buttercream like I do with my strawberry cake.

lemon cupcake with strawberry buttercream cut in half

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strawberry frosting in a glass stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Strawberry Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 3 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Homemade strawberry frosting with real, natural strawberry flavor!


  • 1 cup (about 25g) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 cup (235g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


  1. Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, heavy cream/milk, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. Add 1-2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream/milk if needed to thin out, if desired. (I usually add at least 1 more.) Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  3. Use immediately or cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed. (It stiffens in the refrigerator.)


  1. Heavy Cream: Heavy cream produces an extra creamy frosting, but whole milk or even half-and-half work too. Lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch, but the frosting isn’t as creamy.
  2. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes or a thin layer on a 9×13 inch quarter sheet cake. 1.5x the recipe for a two layer cake. (Doubling the recipe would be far too much.)

Keywords: strawberry frosting, frosting


  1. I just want to clarify…is it 1 cup or 1/2 cup of dried strawberries? The recipe says 1 cup, the directions say 1/2 cup. Thanks Sally!

    1. Hi Abby! You start with 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberries, then pulse them into a powdery crumb. You will then have about 1/2 cup of strawberry crumbs.

      1. Ohhhh!! I’m so sorry… I guess I just had a moment there lol Thank you SO MUCH for clarifying!!!

      2. Just a heads up! You can also crush them by hand right in the package.Just use your fist. I just like to save time from putting the machine together.

  2. Hi Sally,
    Will this frosting hold for piping flowers?
    Thank you,

    1. Yes, I have piped flowers with it!

  3. Tiffany Vigil says:

    Would this work with your strawberry cake recipe or be too much? I am more of a buttercream fan. I will be making it in two weeks for my daughter’s first birthday.

    1. Absolutely NOT too much! The strawberry frosting helps to bring out the strawberry flavor of the cake so they are perfect together 🙂

  4. Hi Sally, Thank you so much for your recipe. If I reduce the sugar to 300g, is it still possible to do flower pipings? Or what changes i should do when I want to reduce the sugar? Please suggest

    1. Hi Saras, this frosting would be way too thin to pipe if you reduce the sugar that much. You can try slightly reducing the sugar and not adding as much of the cream/milk to help it remain thicker, but I can’t guarantee that it will pipe nicely.

  5. Nikki McDowell says:

    I’ve made this thrice and it was FANTASTIC every time. I let it rest for a day before baking the cake allowing the freeze dried strawberries to moisten/reconstitute. 24 hours later its soooooooo delicious!

  6. This is incredible! I had trouble not eating it all while I was icing the cupcakes! Will totally make this again and again.

  7. Should I refrigerate the frosted cake?

    1. You do not need to refrigerate the frosted cake if you will be enjoying it within about 24 hours.

      1. I’m sorry, what if the cake requires refrigeration? Is it ok to refrigerate after frosting? Thank you for your quick reply! Impressed!

      2. You CAN refrigerate if you need to, but it’s not required. 🙂

  8. Thank you! I just can’t wait to make this frosting!

  9. This was so seriously good! Just enough strawberry to please and not be overpowering 🙂 easy, fast, and birthday kid approved! Thank you! (Ps-I doubled it for a 1/2 sheet cake size coverage)

  10. Excited to make this frosting this weekend! Can you tell me, would you double this recipe for a 3 layer (9″ round) cake? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Christina! Yes, I would double this frosting recipe to ensure you have enough for a larger layer cake.

      1. Hi Sally on this same question, I have just made your vanilla cake (also a 9 inch 3 layer cake) and am wanting to pair it with this strawberry frosting. Going by the vanilla frosting ingredient amounts that were posted with that recipe, it seems like if I do 1.5 of this frosting that should be enough, could you please let me know? Many thanks! Also I will definitely leave a review for that cake, it is so good! My husband and 2.5 yr old kept trying to eat the batter lol!

      2. Hi Sonya! I would 1.5x or even double the recipe (for a lot of frosting!) for a 3 layer cake.

      3. Ok I had to come back and reply. 1.5 the frosting recipe was the exact right amount for a 3 layer 9 inch cake. And this recipe…Wow! Wow! It seriously tastes like strawberry ice cream. I may have added 1 & a 1/4 cup of blended strawberries for extra strawberry goodness :). Seriously this recipe is amazing and I highly recommend it. If you love strawberries, then you’ll love this recipe. My 2.5 yr old didn’t even want to eat the cake, just the frosting haha

  11. hello, how long can I store leftover of this buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator/freezer?

    1. Hi Jessilyn! Cover and store leftover frosting for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

  12. Hi Helena! Dried strawberries have a gummy texture, similar to dried apricots or dried pineapple. Freeze-dried strawberries have zero liquid and are not sweetened– they are extremely light and will grind into a powder. Make sure you purchase freeze-dried strawberries for this frosting.

  13. Hi Sally, Thank you so much for your recipe.
    If I pair this strawberry frosting with chocolate cake, will the flavors work together?

    1. Would be delicious!!

  14. Hi Sally,
    I was wondering if this frosting would work for a macaroon filling? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim! This frosting would be excellent as a filling for macarons.

      1. Thank you for your quick reply. Happy holidays.

  15. Hello, if I use salted butter will I still need to add salt?

    1. Hi Cortez, Every brand of salted butter contains a different amount of salt, so we never really know how much we are adding! You will likely still need a pinch of it to cut the sweetness of the frosting.

  16. Hi, quick question. Should I make 1.5 times the recipe for a 3 layer, 6 inch cake? Or should I stick to the original recipe?

    1. I would make 1.5x just to be sure you have enough!

  17. Dang, I was so looking forward to making this for my daughter’s first birthday… Sadly, it didn’t turn out as expected. The colour wasn’t nearly as pink – very pale pink with flecks of strawberries – and the flavour was not very strong. I’m hoping after some hours the strawberry flavour will get stronger *fingers crossed*

  18. Hi Sally,
    I’m planning on making a two-layer 8″ cake, would the original amount be enough or do you think I should do 1.5x ? I want to make sure I have enough frosting 🙂

    1. I would recommend 1.5x the recipe. Let me know how you like it, Anna!

  19. Hello I have been looking for a banana buttercream recipe, using freeze dried bananas. Could I replace the strawberry with bananas and come out with a great banana frosting? Or do you think It would taste better to use the freeze dried bananas in a cream cheese frosting? I know this is off subject but any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Alex, I have never tried using freeze dried bananas instead but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! The buttercream will be sweeter and the cream cheese frosting will be tangier so it’s really just a matter of personal preference which one you make. Let me know how it turns out!

  20. Lindsey Paulin says:

    Would this work to use freeze dried raspberries instead? I’ve made with strawberries and amazing but local store currently out of stock. Thank you!

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  21. Hi, can I also use freeze dried rasberries instead?

    1. Absolutely!

  22. I can’t find freeze dried strawberries where I live. Would it be ok if I added the extra reduced strawberries I have from the strawberry cake recipe to the icing instead?

    1. You can but keep in mind that your frosting will be thinner and it still won’t have as strong of a strawberry flavor. Feel free to add a small amount of strawberry extract to your frosting if you desire more flavor.

  23. Absolutely the best strawberry icing ever! So much strawberry flavor and no artificial ingredients. I paired this with strawberry cupcakes and with lemon cupcakes for a strawberry lemonade flavor combo. I always receive so many compliments on this yummy frosting.

  24. Rhonda Walker says:

    I’m planning to try this recipe tonight to use on pink champagne mini-bundt cakes. I’m using frozen strawberries, so I think I’ll start with less than a cup since they will add moisture.

  25. Will it work with whole milk rather than cream? It’s all I have in the refrigerator.

    1. Yes you can use whole milk. Your frosting just won’t be quite as creamy but will still be delicious 🙂

  26. I really liked this icing, but I also liked the kind of frosting for which you cook flour. I’m not sure how to search to see if you have such a recipe. I suspect that kind could be made strawberry flavored by adding the freeze dried strawberry powder…

  27. Hello,

    b/c my to be 5yo requested a vanilla cake I stumbled on your side. I was wondering if I can use this frosting as filling for the best vanilla cake, but use the vanilla buttercreme for the outside. If so how much of each do I need? Full recipe of this and half of the vanilla? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sibylle, I’m happy to help! I suggest making the vanilla cake recipe as written and make the full quantity of vanilla buttercream – then adding the strawberry dust to half of the frosting and keep the other half vanilla. That way you only need to make it once. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  28. Hi Sally.

    thank you very much! I will make the batter today and fill it tomorrow for her birthday on sunday. Hope she will like it. 🙂 I could have come to the conclusion on my own, but staying home with four kids eats my brain 🙂

  29. Hey sally, does the strawberry flavor come through strong? I’m trying to make a strawberries and cream frosting recipe with white Chocolate, and I want to make sure that the strawberry flavor comes through.

    1. Hi Charlie, The strawberry flavor in the frosting definitely comes through when using freeze dried strawberry powder! I do have a white chocolate strawberry frosting recipe if you are interested.

  30. Hi. Could you replace the strawberries with freeze dried blueberries for blueberry frosting?

    1. Absolutely. Same amount.

      1. Thank you!

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